The Surf Gallery in Laguna Beach, Globe’s venue of choice for “New Emissions of Light and Sound: An Abstract Surf Photography Exhibition,” sits adjacent to Thalia Street Surf Shop on South PCH. But on the evening of Friday, February 22nd, visitors encountered an atmosphere more evocative of a SoHo loft than a SoCal surf party. In the spirit of the avant-garde, which drips from every frame of New Emissions, Globe took the collection’s opening to new places. NELS had the ambient sounds of DJ Sasha, chilled wine, sushi and six kinds of cheese on artisan wood palettes. Heck, there wasn’t even a proper screen – Yadin Nicol’s full-rotation airs were projected onto a bare white wall alongside the works of Wolfgang Bloch, Andrew Kidman and Stockholm-based photog Thor Johnson. But no guests seemed deterred by the non-traditional setting – nor, for that matter, the non-traditional content of the show. In fact, in a testament to the evolution of the surfer and his tastes, everyone seemed right at home. Pros, European fashion models, artists and industry heavyweights came out to mingle, sip vino and take in the latest tangential venture in surf photography. Hans Hagen explained the New Emissions concept, noting that in traditional surf flicks – the kind you put on to pump up for beachbreak closeouts – the editor’s task boils down to a single fundamental distinction: Is it a clip, or is it not a clip? “The rest,” said Hagen, “just goes to waste.” Perhaps in keeping with the Green Movement, Globe decided to recycle some of the more sublime scenes and images from its hours of unused Secret Machine footage. The result is a film and an exhibition consciously void of all the conventional elements of a surf video, from the commercial glitz to the fast-paced soundtrack. Every element, that is, except the surfing. Taj, Yadin, Noodles and the Hobgoods complement the show’s artsy vibe with a requisite dose of futuristic moves from around the world. So while Friday’s event saw no hoots, no flying bottle caps and nary a grom in attendance, it nonetheless proved the perfect environment for the launch of this next-generation project. NELS is a must-see for fans of visual beauty, cutting-edge surfing, or for those who just need some more sophistication in their sandy, salt-encrusted lives.
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